Free at Last: A Reboot Journal

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by runningforfreedom, Sep 2, 2020.

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  1. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Good morning all.

    I am a 33 y/o male who has struggled with pornography since about the time I was 11. I have been actively trying to quit pornography for the past eight years, and while at times I have had temporary success, I always came back to it.

    After a recent relapse, I have determined that I can no longer accept this destructive cycle that I have engaged in. I wrote a letter to my future self to clearly outlined the consequences of continued pornography use. If I continue down the path that I am on, I will end up without a family, without love, and my career will flounder.

    But I don't have to continue the destructive behavior that I have been doing. I can be free at last.

    This journal is going to chronicle the next 90 days of my recovery. It is actually my second attempt at a reboot journal. I tried to do one a couple months ago, but I unwittingly forgot to add this site as an exception to my porn blocker (pluckeye, at the time). But I am back again with renewed motivation and energy.

    Right now I am just focusing on porn. I really just want to be free from porn and extreme fetishes. I have tried hard mode several times in the past, and it has never worked well for me. I do eventually want to quit MO, but first I want to eliminate P from my life. I view it as kind of like breaking a hard task into two easier ones.

    Thanks for checking out this thread! I am grateful to be fighting the good fight with you guys.
     
    realness, catchingup and Pete McVries like this.
  2. catchingup

    catchingup Active Member

    Run like hell.
     
  3. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    This is some of the best advice I have ever received!

    Day 2 report:

    Yesterday was a relatively good day. I didn't have a lot of temptations for porn, but I was tempted to tune out at work. I find that tuning out at work can often turn into a temptation to PMO. I think that I need to be as engaged in reality as possible.

    I am feeling a bit triggered this morning. Not entirely sure where this is coming from, but I think it may have something to do with a sense of loneliness. But at the end of the day, I can't change my feelings. I need to accept whatever life and my brain bring me, and do what I need to do regardless.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Shady and catchingup like this.
  4. catchingup

    catchingup Active Member

    good job! keep going!
     
  5. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Day 4

    So on Thursday I fell, really hard. I told myself that I would "just" look at some SFW material. This, of course, led to a day long pornography binge. Thankfully (!!) it didn't last any longer than that, and I am back on the saddle ready to go.

    I think it started with pain and loneliness, and turning my thoughts to sexual images. I really that the thought of sexual images led me to act on these thoughts by searching for them. In the past I have tried two things: either running from the images by distracting myself, or indulging by indulging my desires. Neither of these strategies worked.

    In the future, I am going to try something different. I am going to try to react with gratitude that sexual thoughts and images come to mind, and embrace the pain that comes along with them. I will let this pain serve as a reminder to practice mindfulness.

    This strategy might completely fail, so I am looking at it more as an experiment than anything else. But I am optimistic.
     
  6. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    Where were you when you fell? When was it? Was it a block of time that comes up regularly? Part of a routine?
    The most successful fapstronauts I've seen were great, not at fighting temptations, but at avoiding them entirely. If you examine your routine, and where porn fits into it, you can start to plan ahead to stay out of treacherous waters. You may be able to white-knuckle your way past temptation once, but in the long term, you'll succumb eventually.
     
  7. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    These are great questions. I actually fell yesterday unfortunately, after making that post. It isn't necessarily during any block of time, but it comes up when I am trying to be productive either at work or at home. I get anxiety or frustration. Then I tell myself that I can just break my digital boundaries "only a little bit", which always turn into a full-on porn binge. This is essentially what happened yesterday; I was taking a break from what I was doing at the time, and was looking for dating sites (not that I am dating right now, but I was just curious). A triggering youtube thumbnail came up on my google search, and I was basically down for the count after that.

    This is an excellent point, one that I found out the hard way yesterday and should know by now. I have taken a step by installing both Pluckeye and Cold Turkey on my personal computer. I am also now scheduling my personal computer use. This means I won't have as much time as I would like to post on here, but it will help keep me off my personal computer when I am supposed to be.

    My work computer remains unprotected, because I am unable to install anything on it at the moment. I have tried filtering at the router level in the past, but have found I can get around that by jumping on the VPN (making acting-out even more risky).

    Another thing that I am going to try is to really focus on only getting rid of porn. This means that I am going to MO everyday for a while, while thinking of plain vanilla marital sex (I am not married or seeing anyone). I know this might not be a popular strategy around here, but I really just want to be free from porn and the crazy fetishes. Once I have the porn under control, then I will revisit MO.
     
    catchingup likes this.
  8. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    Totally valid approach, IMO. In fact, I don't even think MO is a big problem in and of itself, unless you're, like, chafing yourself raw or something.
     
    runningforfreedom likes this.
  9. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Thanks!! On certain forums there seems to be a prejudice against this approach, and it feels good to be welcome here. I'm not there yet, but if I get there then it might be time to reconsider lol.

    So I've lost track of what day I am on, so we are going to call yesterday:

    Day 5

    This was a good day! I think one thing that will help me beat this, is determining a specific list of websites that I can visit, and visit no websites outside of that list. Anything else will be a relapse. This might seem a bit too much, but I think it will give me some much needed structure. In the past, I have been able to convince myself that it's only X, and surely X isn't porn. This has been my relapse cycle for at least the past three months, and actually probably six to nine. So I wrote down a list of websites that I will visit, mostly personal finance stuff, email, and recovery. That's basically it. I allow myself to add to this list, but I have to wait twenty-four hours before visiting a site that I add. Between this and pluckeye, hopefully my exposure to online triggers will be drastically reduced if not eliminated.

    We shall see how this goes, but I am optimistic!
     
  10. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Day 6

    Quick post tonight.

    Yesterday was really good. Did a good job of sticking to my digital boundaries. Attended an online meditation session, and it was awesome! Hope to do more of these in the future! Keep fighting the good fight guys!
     
  11. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    Glad to hear you're meditating. The benefits are subtle yet profound.
     
    runningforfreedom likes this.
  12. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Thanks @Apeman ! I think mindfulness and meditation might be game-changers going forward.

    It has been a couple days since I posted, and we are now on

    Day 9

    Yesterday was difficult emotionally. I have been having trouble staying present with difficult emotions that occur during withdraw. I ended up fapping a couple of times, but at no point did I look at P.

    I violated my digital boundaries at one point, but I never looked for anything remotely pornographic. I did come across one webpage completely by accident, but I closed out of it immediately. Tomorrow I am going to get back on the wagon with my digital boundaries, which means that I will be sticking to a list of websites that I need for finances, email, music, google maps, and recovery. I will commit to doing this for the next thirty days, after that I am not sure, but I think this will help my recovery.
     
  13. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    Nine days, good job.

    It's best you stay away from M all together at least during the first two weeks.
     
    runningforfreedom likes this.
  14. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Thanks @Shady ! To clarify this was day nine of my journal, and I haven't been clean all nine days. I have been clean only six of them. I wasn't really sure how to number my posts, so I have just been logging consecutive days while displaying my sobriety with my counter. I am open to suggestions how to do this differently, and apologize if this causes any confusion....

    I think you're right, it definitely is better to stay away from M all together during at least the two weeks. But honestly, I have had trouble staying away from M for more than a couple days. And so my goal is to just focus on P for now, and then once that is under control, to focus on quitting M.
     
  15. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    You could try a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are cool because, unlike Day Counters, a spreadsheet will preserve the bigger picture of your personal journey. It also discourages binging if you relapse, because you log everything, and you don't want to run up the number on January just because of 1 slip-up, do you?
    Legendary member TheUnderdog wrote about them in his lengthy success post. It's a good post.

    upload_2020-9-12_14-9-35.png



    Anyway, here's how you get one. All you need is a Google Drive.

    Step #1: Log in to your Google account.

    Step #2: Open Darxidius' spreadsheet here.

    Step #3: Go to File->Make a Copy and give it a name

    Step #4: Go to Share in the upper right corner and change it from 'Private' to 'Anyone with a link'.

    Step #5: Add the following code to your forum signature (make sure you replace 'SPREADSHEET_LINK' with your actual spreadsheet link):

    Code:
    Take a look at my [b]PMO Spreadsheet[/b]: [url=SPREADSHEET_LINK]Click Here[/URL]
    
    :)

    PS: Yeah, the spreadsheet is for 2015. It should still be, like, 99% percent applicable to 2020, right?
     
  16. runningforfreedom

    runningforfreedom New Member

    Thanks for the advice, @Apeman !

    @forlorn

    I need to give an update

    So I acted out today. I rationalized it, just like I always do, by getting on youtube. This led to me revisiting portions of the internet that I wish I never been in the first place.

    This is a cycle that keeps repeating itself. I can't afford to spiral down this cycle. I am going to cut out the internet for the next thirty days, with the exception sites that I need to manage my finances and email. And even then, I will allow myself to be online from only 4:30 pm 5:30 pm every day (or a similar time, maybe 4:45 pm to 5:45 pm).

    Drastic times call for drastic measures. I have no other choice.

    I am not sure if I will be back here after my thirty days are over. I love this community and am grateful for all of the wonderful posters on here. You are doing the world a tremendous service. Thank you for interacting with me during my time here. You guys rock. Even though I won't be online here, I'll still be cheering every single one of you on.

    Signing off.

    --runningforfreedom
     
  17. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    Sorry to hear about it, RFF. Hope you're not beating yourself up too badly. We all slip up sometime.

    The draconian measures you talk about would probably work... on paper. But are you just punishing yourself to make yourself feel less guilty? Do you really think you'll be so vigilant 2 weeks from now? Or will you trip over this bar that you've now set even higher, leading you to beat yourself up even more? To even start to build a habit--an expectation--that you will fail and must be punished?
     
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    It's a good idea to limit your time online. But do you have any replacement activities that can fill the void? Maybe home improvements, gardening, learning new skills, exercise, cooking etc? I hope you do stick around on the forum so we can continue to share ideas and support one another.

    BTW, here's another website to add to your safe list:

    Lesson one from the Recovery Nation workshop
    http://www.recoverynation.com/recovery/recovery_workshop_001.php
    It's a good site, with a series of exercises aimed at recovery. If you like the look of it, perhaps try working through it slowly, as some sections can be quite intensive.

    @Apeman that spreadsheet made me chuckle at first. The neatness, the level of detail, the colour coding etc, but I can see why it could be a valuable tool, especially the point you made about seeing your progress as part of a bigger picture. I might try it myself actually.
     
  19. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    @runningforfreedom
    1- keep busy at all times and don't go to bed unless you're very sleepy.
    2- keep your devices away
    3- use app and website blockers
    4- Whenever you feel weak come in here and talk about it. It helps.

    Bonus: belief is all it takes.

    Keep it up and don't even count the days.
     

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